Shooting the Franklin: Early Canoeing on Tasmania's Wild Rivers

Part coming-of-age memoir, part historical document, this book is a moving account of lasting friendships through trial and a fair bit of error in finding ways to navigate Tasmania’s famous wild rivers – Pieman, King, Franklin, Gordon. Author John Dean and his mates pioneered these untamed areas, first in heavy homemade canoes and later in the immensely easier rubber duckies.

In designing the book I was able to access a lifetime’s accumulation of photographs and scraps of paper, some scratchy stills from a home movie, and the priceless original maps used by the adventurers, carefully annotated with their discoveries along the way and held together with strips of sticking plaster. This is what makes book design so rewarding: the chance to bring all these elements together to recreate the writer’s experiences. And John Dean, an amateur author in the best sense of the word, writes with a power that can still bring me to tears even after reading and rereading endlessly during the course of the design.